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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

The role of telemedicine in reducing the carbon footprint, providing sustainable healthcare, and improving health access in India

This study examines the role of telemedicine in enhancing healthcare access and reducing the carbon footprint of the healthcare sector in rural India, considering the challenges posed by climate change. The rural healthcare system in India faces limitations in infrastructure, healthcare workforce, and accessibility, leading to significant health disparities. Telemedicine is investigated as a potential solution to bridge these gaps. The study draws on a comprehensive literature review and semi-structured interviews with healthcare professionals.

The results indicate that telemedicine technology can significantly improve access to primary healthcare services, especially benefiting maternal and mental health. Moreover, telemedicine holds the potential to contribute to the decarbonization of the healthcare sector by reducing energy consumption related to travel and facilitating energy-efficient practices. Recommendations encompass the need for tailored training, regulatory enhancements, environmental considerations, and gender-focused strategies.

The study finds that telemedicine aligns with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 3, 5, 10, and 13, directly and indirectly impacting 26 indicators. Despite its promise, challenges include healthcare workforce training, reliable electricity and internet access, and addressing human touch in virtual consultations. The study concludes by emphasizing telemedicine's potential to empower women, reduce healthcare disparities, and build climate-resilient infrastructure. Future work includes quantitative assessments of emission reduction, life cycle analyses, and empirical investigations into gender impacts.

In essence, this research underscores the transformative potential of telemedicine in improving healthcare access, promoting sustainability, and fostering gender equality in rural India, while acknowledging the complexities that must be navigated for its effective implementation and lasting impact.

Keywords: Climate Change Impacts, Healthcare Access, Climate Resilient Health Infrastructure, Digital Healthcare, Telemedicine, Telemedicine in Primary Care, Telemedicine and Climate Change, Gender and Telemedicine, Mental Health and Telemedicine



Course Overview


The need to engage in better problem definition through careful dialogue with all stakeholder groups and a proper recognition of context.


An ability to work with specialists from other disciplines and professional groups acknowledging that technical innovation and business skills also must be understood, nurtured and combined as precursors to the successful implementation of sustainable solutions.


An understanding of mechanisms for managing change in organisations so future engineers are equipped to play a leadership role.


An awareness of a range of assessment frameworks, sustainability metrics and methodologies such as Life Cycle Analysis, Systems Dynamics, Multi-Criteria Decision making and Impact Assessment.